The Hazards of a
Photo Society Photographer...

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

Reality Check

  • Random Assault

    6
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Robbed

    5
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Meningitis

    1
  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

    2
  • Falls

    12
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Groped

    9
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Groped

    2
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Giardia

    8
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Robbed

    13
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Burns

    4
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Beaten

    3
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Malaria

    5
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Temporary Blindness

    2